Contact the Author | sample_mail@mail.com

25 Feb

AUTHOR’S NOTE: I wrote this piece two days after the recent school shooting in Florida, but couldn’t post because my web host was having security issues (AGAIN). In the time between when I finished it and when I could post it, we had a threat against the school where I work that was caught by students on social media, who reacted appropriately and contacted law enforcement authorities, who investigated and intervened. “Stuff’s gettin’ real, y’all.”

*****************

Another school shooting.

“’Murica.”

In THIS corner, weighing in at millions of dollars and countless pounds of paid-for politicians, the National Rifle Association. Add to them some honorably discharged veterans, throw in a few whack-job ultra-nuts militia types, and more than a few everyday well-meaning citizens, and you have quite an argument that guns don’t kill people, people kill people.

And in THIS corner, weighing in at a growing number of unhappy people, you have ultra-left wing gun haters, those who jumped on the “change” bandwagon, some honorably discharged veterans, law enforcement, the civilized countries of Japan, the United Kingdom, and Australia (plus others) and more than a few everyday well-meaning citizens. Throw them all together and you have quite an argument that gun control is long overdue, and how many more child-size coffins do we need to fill?

I have an opinion, but I’m going to keep it to myself, (until near the end, anyway). In the interest of getting everyone to see the other side of the argument and maybe do some critical thinking (God forbid!), I’m going to list why both sides are wrong. Read the whole thing, BOTH SIDES, before you unfriend me. (DISCLAIMER: To my friends who own a multitude of weapons; I would trust many of them with my children’s lives, and I am not trying to take away your weapons. It’s more those of you I don’t know so well that have me concerned…)

First, to those that think nothing is wrong, get a clue. Here’s all the reasons why you are screwed up.

1. The “blessed 2nd amendment” was created at a time when the standing army was less than what fits into a modern day baseball stadium, and we needed a militia in case we got invaded. And it was also when people hunted their own food if they wanted meat. And it was also when a really GOOD shooter could crank off 3 rounds a minute. Laws governing virtually every other piece of technology and industry have changed with the times; unless you are ok with a 40 mile an hour speed limit, time to realize the times they are a-changin’.
2. Most of the recent mass shootings were done with AR-15s. The “A” and the “R” stand for “automatic rifle.” Yes, they don’t go full auto; they are “semi-automatic” meaning they fire as fast as you can pull the trigger. Someone explain to me why (except for military and law enforcement) this is needed in society? Did I miss something? Are the deer now shooting back? Oh, and if you know what you are doing, you can modify it to go full automatic (it’s illegal, but that probably isn’t going to stop someone if they feel like they need this sort of thing), or get a bump stock. Which brings me to my next point…
3. Bump stocks are stupid. It is an obviously ridiculous loophole around the rule to keep fully automatic weapons out of the hands of thrill seekers. May I suggest skydiving instead?
4. I have been to Europe and Japan (briefly), and would not trade my life here to live there. However, I have also been to Australia, and loved it. It is possible to have a first world country without owning an assault weapon just because you can afford it.
5. It is entirely possible that if the money put into “protecting the rights of gun owners” was put into “responsible firearm measures,” the situation would improve significantly, and you could keep your bangsticks and not be out any additional money.
6. Your right to own a gun does not trump my kid’s right to go to a school or a concert or some other public venue safely.

Now, before those of you in the “ban all the guns” club start cheering, time for my other shoe to drop.

1. It is the person behind the gun that does the killing. If they are sick enough, they will find a way to kill. The problem is not “gun control” it is “gun violence,” which is a subset of “violence.” Until we address mental health, education, and discipline reform, most gun control measures will punish those that are doing it the right way already.
2. Gun owners are not all bad. I own one, have owned it for years, and am responsible with it. I am trained, proficient, and keep my weapon secure at all times. Many people do it wrong. I, and many(more) others, do it right. You need to respect that.
3. “Gun control” measures are going to cost money. That money needs to come from somewhere; you need to address that in any solution you offer, because the only green that grows on trees are leaves.
4. Conceal-carry is not the problem (for the most part; there are always exceptions). Someone with a conceal-carry permit has been to classes, forked over money, and is statistically much less of a danger than many other elements of society.
5. Your right to “feel” safe does not trump my right to participate in sports that are at this moment allowed in the Olympics.

A wise Navy Lieutenant (every senior enlisted out there is laughing) once said, “Don’t bring me problems, bring me solutions.” Well, here are some ideas I would like to see tried out.

1. Bolt action hunting-rifles, shotguns, and handguns are available via a process similar to what we have now. High-capacity semi-automatic rifles are as well, but subject to significantly more restrictions and legal “hoops.”
2. Magazines have a limit (8 shots is fine), you must register your weapons, and the state or Feds or town or whomever we all agree is in charge can come in any time they want and check your storage, without calling ahead first. If you are doing it right (and many are) you have nothing to worry about. If you are doing it wrong, you lose your firearms and pay a hefty fine.
3. Ammunition is registered, and you can only have so many rounds on hand at a time. There is no zombie apocalypse coming, people; you don’t need 4,000 high powered rounds in your basement “just in case.”
4. If you have a record for violent crime, domestic abuse, mental illness, or illegal drug use, sorry, no guns for you. Act like you did when you were seven years old; you want a new toy, earn it with good behavior.
5. If you write things on your social media page that suggest you might shoot up a school, or a stadium, or a concert, you can expect a visit from the FBI, and they are going to want to have a long chat with you. And they may leave your house with your weapons for safe keeping. And you may never get them back. Sorry. If you can’t play nice, you don’t get to keep the stick.
6. Those demonstrating intent to harm (young Mr. Cruz fits this category), will be institutionalized until they demonstrate that they are no longer a threat, and the expense incurred to do so is paid by the family. The institution is not a prison, but it is not a day camp, either. People, stop pretending we are not responsible for the actions of our children. Raise them right, or pay the bill to keep them from harming society.

If you go back to the beginning of this piece, and read the breakdown of the two teams, you can see that as a constant they both have veterans and well-meaning citizens. When you weed out all the freaks, nuts, and political a-holes, the rest of us still have to get along and come up with something that works. As is almost always the case, the solution is to meet somewhere in the middle.

I’m a gun owner with school-age children. Whichever team “wins,” you could say I win either way. But I also lose either way, and to be honest if my kids are safe, you can have my gun and even raise my taxes a little bit. I think my kids are worth it, but that’s just me.

 


3 Responses to In the crosshairs…

  1. Greer mckenna

    February 25, 2018 at 4:26 am

    This is why I love you!!!

  2. Cathy Flynn

    February 25, 2018 at 3:23 pm

    As always, well thought out and articulated. However, I would add one more idea. If you take away the protective metal detectors and security from the White House, Congress, and all the State Legislatures so that they are in the same situation as your children and my grandchildren, they might actually take the actions suggested in your post.

  3. Alan Vancil

    February 28, 2018 at 1:57 pm

    This my friend is why I’ve always had so much respect for you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.